2021-10-15 23:06:35 Czech PM Babis heading for opposition after losing election | Politics News

Czech PM Babis heading for opposition after losing election | Politics News

Prime Minister Andrej Babis, a populist billionaire, has announced his intention to hand over power to a new coalition and join the opposition.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has stated that he is willing to hand over power to a coalition of opposition parties that won a combined majority in the lower house of Parliament in an election last weekend, according to the news agency CTK.

Babis, the leader of the centrist ANO party, had acknowledged the opposition’s victory but had maintained until Friday that he might still have the first shot at forming a new cabinet as the leader of the largest single party in Parliament.

Babis said he would not accept an offer to form a new government after his political party narrowly lost a parliamentary election last week and was prepared to end up in opposition.

“We will hand it over to the new coalition, and we will be in opposition,” he said in an interview with Frekvence 1 radio station, as reported by CTK.

Babis’ decision allows two coalitions of five parties with a majority in the vote to rule.

Together, a liberal-conservative three-party coalition, received 27.8 percent of the vote on Saturday, beating Babis’s ANO (YES) party, which received 27.1 percent. The third-place finisher was a center-left liberal coalition with 15.6 percent of the vote.

The two coalitions have agreed to govern together. They are more in line with the European Union’s mainstream than Euroskeptic Babis.

Together, they won 71 of the 200 seats in Parliament’s lower house, while the center-left alliance won 37, giving their government a comfortable 108-seat majority.

Babis’ ANO won 72 seats, six fewer than in the previous election.

President Milos Zeman, who is currently hospitalized, previously stated that he would first give a mandate to the leader of the strongest party, rather than the strongest coalition, giving Babis the opportunity to try to form a viable government.

However, Zeman, 77, has not commented on the matter since the election because he is undergoing treatment for a complication related to an undisclosed chronic illness.

Given the scarcity of potential coalition partners, any Babis-led cabinet would almost certainly fail to win the necessary vote of confidence in the lower house, though the attempt could have extended his tenure in power for several months.

Babis’ departure after four years will resolve the conflicts of interest that he was accused of as the founder of Agrofert, a farming, food, chemicals, and media empire that he put into trust funds before becoming prime minister. He vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

Together’s leader, Petr Fiala, is the party’s candidate for prime minister.

Zeman will have to accept the resignation of the outgoing government after the new lower house of Parliament convenes on November 8. He will then be tasked with appointing a prime minister.

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Czech PM Babis heading for opposition after losing election | Politics News